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Creative X-Fi sound card and Hauptwerk

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...

Creative X-Fi sound card and Hauptwerk

Postby Johannes Sørensen » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:43 pm

Some people who decide to use Hauptwerk jump out into the deep water at once and build or buy a new computer and invest in a professional sound card. Others want to use a computer and/or a sound card they have beforehand.
In the later case of course it is important to get the best possible sound quality from the "old" and maybe just an ordinary pc sound card.
Most of the PC sound cards today have more channels out intended for surround. A question some Hauptwerk users ask oneself is, if it is possible to use these channels as discrete audio channels in Hauptwerk?
The choice of driver and the software settings for the sound card can be important.

Here is an example with a Creative X-Fi Elite Pro sound card. Operative system Windows XP 64 bit.

The Creative X-Fi sound cards have no sample-rate restrictions, as was the case with the earlier Audigy (inclusive 2 or 4 versions) sound cards.
In the software Creative Audio Console you can select one of tree "modes" for the X-Fi card: Entertainment Mode, Game Mode and Audio Creation Mode. For use with Haupwerk it is important to select Audio Creation Mode. In this mode it is possible to use a smaller buffer size and obtain lower latency and to get higher polyphony.
When you are in the Audio Console it is also advisable to disable functions that are not used.
In Hauptwerk select the ASIO driver.

With these settings the performance and sound quality is pretty good.
But is it also possible to make a more sophisticated speaker set up than stereo and route the different ranks through different discrete audio channels.
The answer is, yes it is.

With three cables, one 3 pole mini yack to 2 RCA phono and two 4 pole mini yack to 3 RCA phono wee have 8 analogous channels out.
In the Creative Audio Console the Audio Creation Mode is a must and in Speaker Configuration select the highest possible number, in this case 7.1.
In Hauptwerk General Settings, Configure Audio Outputs, select the ASIO driver.
In Device channel you see 18 channels. Each channel from number 001 to 006 and 009 and 010 now corresponds with one (and only one) of the 8 analogous channels out as discrete audio channels.

I have only had the possibility to try out these settings with the X-Fi Elite Pro version, but I think they also works with some other wersions of the X-Fi sound card.

A little appendix. With an older Creative Audigy 2 sound card I only succeeded to obtain five discrete analogous channels although it is a 6.1 card.

The intention with this post is not to recommend a X-Fi or other ordinary pc sound card for Hauptwerk if you shall buy a new card but to give an example of, how it some times is possible to get a good result with an existing sound card and maybe even more than expected when one use the time necessary to investigate the possibilities with the cards different settings.

Johannes Sørensen
Posts: 223
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:25 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

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